Apostolic zeal for the salvation and sanctification of souls
The burning zeal for God’s glory that motivates you fills my heart with joy. It is sad for us to see in our own time that indifferentism in its many forms is spreading like an epidemic not only among the laity but also among religious. But God is worthy of glory beyond measure, and therefore it is of absolute and supreme importance to seek that glory with all the power of our feeble resources. Since we are mere creatures we can never return to him all that is his due. The most resplendent manifestation of God’s glory is the salvation of souls, whom Christ redeemed by shedding his blood. To work for the salvation and sanctification of as many souls as possible, therefore, is the preeminent purpose of the apostolic life. Let me, then, say a few words that may show the way toward achieving God’s glory and the sanctification of many souls.
God, who is all-knowing and all-wise, knows best what we should do to increase his glory. Through his representatives on earth he continually reveals his will to us; thus it is obedience and obedience alone that is the sure sign to us of the divine will. A superior may, it is true, make a mistake; but it is impossible for us to be mistaken in obeying a superior’s command. The only exception to this rule is the case of a superior commanding something that in even the slightest way would contravene God’s law. Such a superior would not be conveying God’s will.
God alone is infinitely wise, holy, merciful, our Lord, Creator, and Father; he is beginning and end, wisdom and power and love; he is all. Everything other than God has value to the degree that it is referred to him, the maker of all and our own redeemer, the final end of all things. It is he who, declaring his adorable will to us through his representatives on earth, draws us to himself and whose plan is to draw others to himself through us and to join us all to himself in an ever deepening love.
Look, then, at the high dignity that by God’s mercy belongs to our state in life. Obedience raises us beyond the limits of our littleness and puts us in harmony with God’s will. In boundless wisdom and care, his will guides us to act rightly. Holding fast to that will, which no creature can thwart, we are filled with unsurpassable strength.
Obedience is the one and the only way of wisdom and prudence for us to offer glory to God. If there were another, Christ would certainly have shown it to us by word and example. Scripture, however, summed up his entire life at Nazareth in the words: He was subject to them; Scripture set obedience as the theme of the rest of his life, repeatedly declaring that he came into the world to do his Father’s will. Let us love our loving Father with all our hearts. Let our obedience increase that love, above all when it requires us to surrender our own will. Jesus Christ crucified is our sublime guide toward growth in God’s love.
We will learn this lesson more quickly through the Immaculate Virgin, whom God has made the dispenser of his mercy. It is beyond all doubt that Mary’s will represents to us the will of God himself. By dedicating ourselves to her we become in her hands instruments of God’s mercy even as she was such an instrument in God’s hands. We should let ourselves be guided and led by Mary and rest quiet and secure in her hands. She will watch out for us, provide for us, answer our needs of body and spirit; she will dissolve all our difficulties and worries.
O Immaculata, Queen of Heaven and earth, I know I am unworthy to approach you, to fall on my knees before you with my face to the ground, but because I love you so much, I dare beg you to be good enough to deign to tell me who you are. For I wish to know you more and more, endlessly more, and love you more and more ardently, with boundless zeal. Also, I wish to reveal to other souls who you are, that an ever increasing number of souls may know you ever more perfectly and love you ever more ardently, so that you become the Queen of all the hearts that beat and will beat on earth at any time, and that as soon as possible, as soon as possible. Some still do not know your name at all. Others, plunged in the mud of immorality, dare not look up to you; still others believe they have no need of you in order to achieve the purpose of their lives. Yet there are also some whom Satan—who refused to recognize you as his Queen and was thus turned from an angel into a devil— prevents from bending their knees before you. Many are those who love you, who are fond of you, but how few are those who for love of you are willing to do anything, to labor, to suffer, and even to sacrifice their lives. When will you, O Lady, reign supreme in all hearts and in each one individually? When will all the inhabitants of the earth acknowledge you as Mother, the Heavenly Father as Father, and in doing so finally feel like brothers? St. Maximilian M. Kolbe